The Orioles and their fans breathed a collective sigh of relief Tuesday as it appears that 21-year-old third baseman Manny Machado has avoided a catastrophic injury to his knee.
Though the young infielder will receive a second opinion, the diagnosis by team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens was that Machado suffered only a torn medial patellofemoral ligament in his left knee when he stepped awkwardly on first base in the seventh inning of the series finale against the Rays on Monday. A magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed no damage to the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments despite fears that suggested otherwise upon witnessing the gruesome-looking injury.
It is believed that Machado will not need surgery and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks before he can begin light running. That timetable would put him on track to be ready for spring training in February, which is excellent news for the All-Star third baseman and the Orioles, who have all but been eliminated from postseason consideration but entered Tuesday only one victory away from their second consecutive winning season.
The third overall pick in the 2010 draft, Machado hit .283 with 14 home runs, 51 doubles, and 71 runs batted in in his first full season in the big leagues this year and was selected to his first All-Star Game in July.